Evaluating the European Commission’s fiscal governance proposal

Focusing on the fiscal adjustment that the first regulation would require of countries with debt above the treaty benchmarks.

Publishing date
20 September 2023

At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the European Commission suspended the fiscal rules that applied to member states to allow countries to use fiscal policy domestically to deal with health emergency. This suspension was further extended when Russia invaded Ukraine and cause a great energy crisis in the European Union.

The suspension is now meant to be lifted in 2024 when the rules will come back into full operation. In this three-year period, the European Commission has also tried to update and modernise the fiscal framework in a proposal they put forward in April 2023.

In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Maria Demertzis invites Jeromin Zettelmeyer and Zsolt Darvas to evaluate this proposal. As they present in a recent paper, in this framework, medium-term fiscal adjustment requirements would be determined by country-by-country debt sustainability analysis (DSA), the 3 percent deficit ceiling and simple rules requiring minimum deficit and debt adjustments (‘safeguards’). These elements are controversial, with some EU countries (and us) preferring a DSA-based approach, while others prefer to stick to simple rules. 

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